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tv   [untitled]    April 13, 2012 11:00pm-11:30pm PDT

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structure as has been said are networked and operate throughout the city as a convenience and to provide access to customers. people bank locally. they don't want to travel across town. they avoid a.t.m. fees when they can bank in their own community. merchants benefit from greater access to their daily banking needs and while banks might not be cool, hip or funky, because i don't know that you can make a bank in that vein, they provide a critical service. and so if the city of san francisco, as city treasurer and other officials have talked about, want to make banking the unbanked a top priority in the city, then restricting the availability of financial services is directly counter to that goal, to the goal of expanding access to low-cost banking services which chase has been a partner in. i should say that just as an example, chase, in the last year, has -- has increased its
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small business lending in san francisco by 150%. we're the number one small business lender by volume in california and nationally and they're extremely committed to working with the local community and supporting local institutions. so, again, similarly, just in the last couple of years, we've more than doubled our philanthropic support, last year providing more than $7 million just in san francisco to local organizations and over $66 million in california. to continue to have these partnerships and to grow and foster as i know chase and perhaps other financial institutions are very interested in doing, i ask you to think carefully about the impact and the message that it sends by proposals like this. talked about the job growth and that's something else i want to underscore, that in our
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projects, over 90% of employees i think we're up to 1200 employees in san francisco are local, hired in the direct area of the branch and the company looks forward to continuing to grow and work in close partnership all of you on future projects and with local organizations and neighbors. vice president wu: thank you. is there any further public comment? if not, public comment is closed. commissioner moore? commissioner moore: what should i say at last? it is quite a few years that we have broached this issue and in a changing economy but became increasingly more surprising with people having less money, the applications for branch banks increased. i found that somewhat a contradiction on its own. having said that, i think supervisor mar's legislation is long overdue. this issue has been asked again
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and again and the zoning administrator at that time basically didn't have any other tools than the ones he had. however, sitting down and rethinking of how we define formula retail, it doesn't take an einstein to figure out that branch banks definitely fall within that category. i have gotten quite a few phone calls, quite a few emails, personal emails, but i think today's public presenting that the department's recommendation to delete the whole category of other service and other retail would be acceptable, it is not. i strongly support we consider keeping it in and should there be other ways of finer way defining formula retail, i will support that, but that will arise out of a complete separate set of discussions. i would also say there might be certain formula retail such as video stores which we might have to revise. i think within a year or two or
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three, there might be new categories of what potentially could constitute formula retail, i.e., perhaps there are -- coming up as one which falls into the category of formula bakeries. i think we need to stay on target with figuring out what starts to compete when it has more than 11 branches and that could be anything. so i'm strong, strong support of what is in front of us here, hope that we will refine and continue as we move forward and keep a very vigilant eye as we move into the future and things can change. i do believe that -- and i've said it many, many times, that the essence and d.n.a. of san francisco is indeed what the hayes valley merchants described and what is evident in anybody who lives with open eyes in san francisco neighborhoods. vice president wu: thank you. commissioner miguel?
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commissioner miguel: yes. there was a comment regarding the starbucks on the waterfront and i was totally dismayed. i think it's at pier three, when i saw it appear there. i think it's an absolute disaster for the city in such a prominent place. it would be like putting one at the airport, which we don't do, either. along with commissioner moore and others, i've been pushing the concept that financial institutions are formula retail for at least the last couple of years. i disagree totally with the department's interpretation and that's one of the reasons i would not go along with the elimination of other sales and services because they have given me, anyway, given the commission, no justification for that at this point. you may be willing to do so at
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this time but the public doesn't know it and they haven't had a chance to discuss it and i would not consider it at this point. what's retail? is that defined by negativism as it's not wholesale and it's not professional services? i do not agree with negative definitions. so as far as i'm concerned, until there is a further other explanation of this, that additional category should be put in. in general, in legal terms, although i'm not an attorney, but when i have worked with attorneys on legislation and on codes, where certain areas, items or specifics are spelled out, it usually means that everything else is not covered, period. and so the catch-all category is
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generally the accepted way to go. i'll stop for a minute if you have comments. >> you're absolutely right. that's exactly how we've interpreted it, if specific uses have been called out, then the catch-all category is no longer valid under that and that's what we're actually proposing to remove. you can leave it in, you can take it out, it won't change the way the department enforces the formula retail controls. commissioner miguel:can you tell me what you think would not come under this if you took that out? what would you normally consider that is not presently called out that would be retail sales and services? >> absolutely -- linda, can you turn on the -- i'm trying this with an ipad. up here it says retail sales and
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service and that's what's listed in the formula retail definition. and then it also points out to, other retail sales and service, bar, full service restaurant, large fast food restaurant, liquor store, movie theater -- i don't think adult entertainment is in there. so we have a catch-all category and then under that catch-all category, we list specific uses so what staff is recommending because there has been so much confusion about this is to take out the catch-all category and still keep all the other specific uses in there. so other retail sales and service would still number there:. we would still catch multinational clothing companies, we would still catch walgreens -- commissioner miguel: i understand what you're doing a little better now but my objection at this point is that those arguments have not gone out to the community and,
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therefore, i do not think we should do it at this -- i may very well support it at a future time but i do not think we should do it at this time because i do not believe it is understood by the general community as evidenced by the testimony we have had here and in emails. >> ok. i'm sorry, my case report wasn't clear, but i did try to spell that out in there that that's what the difference was. commissioner miguel: thank you. as far as the other testimony that came from the chamber and the committee of jobs -- committee on jobs testimony, i expected from those two organizations. certainly banks network and that's one of the reasons that if you look at the specifics of the legislation, a.t.m.'s are basically exempted from it by size category. you can still network. there's no question on that. and i had actually talked to supervisor mar early on to make sure that they were exempted
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from it. i think this is a long time in coming. i think it's a logical way to go. it is not prohibitive. it doesn't stop them going in. the comment, i have known the exact percentage. obviously, we ok 70% of the formula retail that comes to us and i know in many instances we nix it on one location and then ok it in a different location so technically it's probably higher than 70%. but i would be totally for this legislation with the exception, and, as i say, because it hasn't gone out to the community, of that one amendment. vice president wu: thank you. commissioner antonini? commissioner antonini: thank you. a couple of things. first off, i know there was one speaker who talked about, you know, banks all being from somewhere else offhand amazingly
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enough we have banks headquartered in san francisco -- wells fargo, first republic bank of the west and the american part of union bank although it's owned by the japanese and charles schwab, it's still headquartered in san francisco. i'm not defending the banks but there is a reason why we have branch banking which began here as most of you know by apg to allow smaller depositors to be part of the process because you need a number of people, if you're going to take care of somebody with $2.37, as i was as a kid putting it in my pass book, you have to have a lot of people to be able to make it possible to service people with small needs and seniors and disabled do need to have services that are close to them and most of them, as is the case with me, want to have contact with someone personal, we don't want it through a computer. we don't want it to have to
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travel to the other side of the city. those are all some of the reasons why we need branch banks. they do employ a lot of people. and -- but the question is, what's wrong with the formula retail barrier that they have to have? the problem is, it's a one-size-fits-all solution. there are some neighborhoods who really would rather have formula retail banned entirely, particularly hayes valley and north beach. i don't know if banks would be banned under this since they have bans on formula retail, would that mean new banks would be banned? i don't know but that's a possibility to conjecture about. and the west portal band had good reasons and there was a proliferation of financial institutions in the 1970's and 1980's that was dominating the street and they said we don't want any more now and the other thing that was really bad about what happened at west portal, they tore down two and three-story buildings and built single level branches with lots of parking around them which
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remain and that's a poor land use. what you really should be doing with this legislation is to prescribe the type of land use for the bank when they want to come in and i'm going to suggest a different process. an example of this is broderick place which was beautifully done. what we did in that case is we shrunk the size of an oversized bank of america to a very small branch which remains and we had a mixed use project there that has come out nicely, feleti foods, dalesso dell catessin, and a lot of very nice candos, contextual with the neighborhood and those are the kinds of things we should be working on instead of adding another barrier and another hoop here that's one size fits all the neighborhoods where some neighborhoods would really like to have branch banks and may not get them if we make it too difficult. the banks abandon many neighborhoods in san francisco in the 1960's and 1970's and we
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see a lot of them turned into restaurants in the more fortunate neighborhoods but others sit virtually vacant and there are still many neighborhoods who would really like to have financial services here and is conditional use enough to keep them from going there? i don't know that it is, but we certainly should be incentivizing banks to go into neighborhoods rather than putting up more barriers. and banking the unbanked is something we want. we don't want our citizens to rely on pay day cash checking services or those who advance money ahead of time at exorbitant rates. we want them to get into the mainstream as far as banking is concerned. so and while hayes valley has done a beautiful job with no formula retail, there are many other streets like chestnut and fillmore and 24th street and union that have a blend of banks, formula retail and neighborhood services and they seem to be doing just well so i'm not sure that the entire success in hayes valley is --
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can be attributed to the fact that there isn't any formula retail and it's also a very small area, too. i think each neighborhood has to decide for themselves. and the other thing that's a little disturbing is if we have a medical marijuana dispensary, the level of approval is a d.r., which is a lower level of approval than would be the case for a bank or financial institution, which somehow the priorities are wrong there as far as i'm concerned. i mean, i would suggest that we make this a d.r. you still get process. it's -- neighborhood is noticed that there is a financial institution going in and it's brought to the planning commission and what happens is, you know, then they would have to get four votes of this commission to block them rather than four votes because someone will always say it's not necessary or desirable because they have a business there and they're afraid that their rents may go up or there's some other
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reason, you know, that somebody will always be complaining and will get enough people to protest it to keep it from going in so i think it's harder to get the four votes to approve -- disapprove and it's more reasonable here and of course as has been said, they do employ. and as far as the issue of removing sales and service, i think that needs further study. my position is i will oppose the legislation in its present form. i may try to make a motion for a d.r. but we'll see what the other supervisors have to say -- i mean commissioners have to say first. vice president wu: thank you. commissioner borden? commissioner borden: i'm supportive of this legislation because i do believe it falls into the spirit of what people wanted for formula retail and certainly ghanks their format, marketing and all those sort of things fit that general thought of what people were concerned about. i do believe that they can afford to go through conditional use process if you can make a franchisee that's part of a chain go flew a conditional use
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process, you certainly can make a bank and it does allow people have greater choice about what they want in their neighborhood be which even commissioner antonini said he was supportive of. i will say i believe banks are different. i moved to a location where i don't have a bank near me so i have a far distance to go to get cash because i don't happen to bank with some of the more ubiquitous banks in the city so i don't shop at merchants that don't take credit cards because it's inconvenient for me to get cash. lots of small businesses thrive -- when i lived in the marina, there were lots of banks and as a consequence, many businesses, breakfast places that, didn't take credit cards because they didn't have to because they could say go down the street because you can find one of your own bank so i do believe that there are differences and reasons to have banks. i don't think conditional use stops that. i think maybe neighborhoods with those outright bans might want to think about how that impacts
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them and if it's for the best but i believe there are reasons you want a bank in the neighborhood if it's just for none other than getting cash to support your local merchant. i think there is a class issue related to banks and banking, as well. a lot of african-americans prefer to go into bank branches. other populations don't necessarily choose to do that but i think there are real class implications and i'm not talking about in this legislation specifically as much but something we need to think about across socio-economic spectrum, people who are more trendy might use square and other kinds of -- other formats or ways to pay for their transactions but for other populations of people, having a bank and having access to a bank is an important construct so to the extent that areas have outright bans, they might want to think about whether or not this is something that should be taken into consideration. i also think -- we talked about
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banks. obviously wells fargo is headquartered here, it is -- it would be interesting to know to talk about in that context of money and how it goes back into the system but again, i do believe that for what we said formula retail was, for size, format and marketing, it makes a lot of sense to put things in that category. i also do believe, though, it is different, because people don't have a choice. they have to have a bank. and for those people who don't bank at the more ubiquitous banks, it is onerous not to have access to banks in your immediate neighborhood and it does affect the local merchants as well as the people who live in those neighborhoods so that's just something to posit out there. we don't have a lot of free-standing bank-owned a.t.m.'s and i don't know why that is or that might be something to talk about since it's not included in this legislation, how to encourage
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banks, the formula retail banks, to have a.t.m.'s in areas where they don't. i have picked a small bank which was bought by a large bank but doesn't have a lot of branches. some people do try to support local banks and unfortunately, you know, in this economy, it doesn't often happen that they get to exist for very long so i just want us to be cognizant. i think the d.r. approach doesn't really work because it's extraordinary is a little harder as a general matter to point out. vice president wu: thank you. commissioner sugaya? commissioner sugaya: thank you. i think my comments are all over the map and i can't help but be a little cynical sometimes and maybe sarcastic but i give it a go anyway. commissioner antonini reminded me that my first deposit was 50 cents into the bank of america at my school. now, if we want to talk about
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service and convenience and how to reach people and we are depending on branches, maybe the banking industry ought to take a look at what they used to do in the past. i took my 50 cents and one dollar bill to school and somehow everything worked out. maybe you ought to try that. also. i don't know how to pronounce it. i think it's ing just opened up what you might call a branch about two blocks from my office and it isn't really a banking facility. it's a kind of community gathering place, if you can call it that, in the middle of the financial and retail area. i haven't actually gone in there but i have seen people just sitting around in their chairs and tables and i don't know what they're doing in there but they're not doing any banking, that's for sure. let's see, what else. 66 million was given by chase to california? i don't know if the lady's still here. isn't that the c.u.a.'s
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compensation for last year? i'm just wondering. also, 8% or low 8% is the current unemployment rate in san francisco, not 10%. and it would seem to me that if we're talking about financial institutions, the lady who mentioned giving it as broad a definition as possible is something to consider. i'm not sure we can do that here today because i don't know what all the implications are, but there were some words used on the screen, fringe financial and limited financial. i think also the banking industry and financial institutions are changing somewhat as other businesses are. and i don't know if charles schwab tried to open a branch, would they be considered a financial institution? i mean, they do have a banking function but they're primarily
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involved in the stock market and investments. so, if they're covered. >> like the restaurant definitions that we had, there are several different definitions that encompass financial service use. the most ubiquitous is the general financial service category which this legislation would cover and only this section. there are others that do touch on financial. there's the fringe financial which is what we see as the check cashing. that has its own set of regulations regulations that ms. rogers worked on a couple of years ago. it's very restrictive. there's also the limited financial which commissioner miguel touched on and those are kind of the smaller store fronts. it's a very limited size but still offering financial services, typically an a.t.m. or along those lines. then we get into the professional service which is a much broader category but that covers kind of the architectural management, clerical, accounting, legal consulting, insurance, real estate brokerage, travel services, nothing that's really good, tight financial, but we do
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sometimes get requests to be considered under this. i recently had a letter of determination request from wells fargo. they wanted to consider their mortgage brokerage service as a professional service, not a financial service, and this is related to west portal because west portal financial services is not permitted. we reviewed it and found it was a financial service. mortgage brokerage how they were operating it is clear and the definition of financial service so they were not allowed to operate in that fashion but we do get unike -- as you know the i.n.g. store front, a question as to how to categorize that but there are newer types of financial services out there. >> thank you. lastly, whereabout to supervisor wiener's letter, i agree with supervisor mar that making -- taking supervisor wiener's
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approach would be even more of a blanket than this would be and i think that if there's any possibility of smaller financial institutions being able to not have to come to us, then that would be encouraging. i'm going to make a motion, then, to recommend approval without the reference to the whatever it's called. >> without the staff recommendation to delete the retail sales category. commissioner sugaya: yes, thank you. >> i'll second that and i just want to mention that i also started my bank account in school with a.p.g.'s concept but the idea of getting cash, i do not happen to have a bank in my immediate neighborhood at all. but i do have free standing a.t.m.'s and they service the neighborhood and to me, i'm
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looking towards finally getting some peripulation -- you know what i mean -- as they go further into areas of the city so you can obtain cash and you can deposit and you can check on your balances and you can even transfer money from an account to an account and although i understand commissioner antonini's comments regarding d.r., i do not think that what we're talking about really should fall under the exceptional and extraordinary concept so i am absolutely in favor of this. >> second. vice president wu: commissioner antonini? commissioner antonini: i'm opposed for reasons slated earlier but i do have a question for staff and i raised it briefly and this is in regards to future -- if we do, only we make a recommendation, board of
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supervisors will be passing this legislation, and if they do move financial institutions into the definition of formula retail and hayes valley, north beach and i believe china town do not allow formula retail, would that mean that new branches could not be built in those neighborhoods? >> you're correct although i think north beach has a -- half of it you can and half of it you can't. i'm sorry, they do prohibit formula retail outright but currently only half of the district doesn't allow banks and the other half does so this would effectively make new formula retail banks completely prohibited in north beach and hayes valley but financial services are already prohibited in the china town district that would be impacted by this so it doesn't really change anything there. commissioner antonini: right. it would change it for hayes valley and half of north beach and any other neighborhoods that might have bans, i don't believe there are -- west portal, as we
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mentioned, with additional financial services although i believe the charles schwab which incidental does have branches throughout the city a few years ago was able to go in during the period of the ban and was actually able to expand to a second store front about 10 years ago. i'm not quite sure of the mechanics on that because it predated my time on the commission but they may be a way that they can allow an exemption to the financial services ban in west portal at this time. >> i would just like to point out that both north beach and hayes valley were here today and spoke in favor of this so they're aware of it and what it does. commissioner antonini: yeah. but we make laws citywide, not just -- because sometimes those laws might have effects on people who are not necessarily residents of an area but do business there and need a branch bank or another service and even though the residents may not want it, they don't control the
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entire city. they do control their neighborhood to some degree. we just have to look at it from both sides. >> i understand. vice president wu: i would add that i am also supportive of the legislation and of the idea of looking at sales and services, comma, retail, with the other broad category. i believe sales and services, other retail and there's a number of other broad categories within the current definition that we could take a longer look with community members around how those could -- we might want to see them changed. and the last thing i want to say is that, yes, the big banks may invest money in the neighborhoods but they are also required by the community reinvestment act so wanted to remind us of that. >> commissioners, the motion on the floor is

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